This time last year the thought of the A’s hitting 4 home runs in a series, let alone a single game was laughable. This season is different in so many ways, the A’s lineup is littered with hitters who if nothing else are capable of taking a pitcher deep at any moment. Tonight the A’s did it 4 times. The power display began in the first inning with Chris Carter taking Twins starter Cole De Vries deep to left center to drive in Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss and make it 4-0 before the Twins even got to touch the lumber. Tommy Milone settled into a rhythm fairly quickly given the cushion he was handed.
TURNING POINT: In a lopsided victory like tonight’s 9-3 contest, it’s hard to pinpoint any moment that the pendulum swung one way or the other, but the Twins had one chance to make this a game again in the bottom of the 6th inning. Milone got into immediate trouble when he walked Joe Mauer, gave up a single to Josh Willingham, and surrendered a RBI single to Justin Morneau. After a Trevor Plouffe single the bases were loaded with nobody out. Designated Hitter Ryan Doumit hit a come-backer to Milone to snuff out the first potential run. Then Milone induced a double play ball off the bat of Brian Dozier to end the inning and squash the threat.
ON THE MOUND: Tommy Milone wasn’t at his sharpest tonight, but considering some of the road outings he’s had this year it wasn’t bad at all. Over his 6 innings of work Milone scattered 10 hits and a walk while allowing just 2 ER with 4 strikeouts. Milone earned his team leading 9th win of 2012. Jordan Norberto pitched 1.1 innings and allowed 1 ER on yet another home run by Josh Willingham (His 22nd of the year). Evan Scribner pitched 0.2 innings and allowed a hit and a walk but no runs. Jerry Blevins pitched a clean 9th inning to mop up the win for the A’s.
AT THE PLATE: The A’s had the longball working tonight in impressive form. Chris Carter hit a 3 run homer, Yoenis Cespedes hit a 2 run homer, and Seth Smith and Brandon Moss added solo shots of their own. Smith narrowly missed a second homer with his RBI triple in the 9th inning to go along with his long home run. Josh Reddick helped set the table for the rest of the A’s by going 3-5 and scoring twice. Kurt Suzuki showed some signs of life with 2 hits of his own, and scored a run on Smith’s triple. Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington were the only two who didn’t join the hit parade tonight.
FINAL THOUGHTS: As everyone continues to get more excited about what we have seen lately from the A’s who are now 45-43 and remain just 1.5 games out of the 2nd wild card spot. For a team that has any visions of contention, winning series against teams who are down like the Minnesota Twins is essential. The A’s have hit 88 home runs this season in 88 games, pretty impressive considering they hit 114 all of last year. The A’s will go for the revenge sweep against the Twins tomorrow afternoon as they prepare for a huge test next week. Jarrod Parker takes the mound, looking to rebound from his shaky outing against the Seattle Mariners last weekend. Nevertheless Parker has a 5-4 record with a 2.86 ERA, he’ll oppose Brian Duensing (1-5, 4.11 ERA). The A’s can make a real statement by continuing to punish pitchers with the home run ball and sweeping the Twins in their own home. Time to put the pedal to the metal.